‘Eighth Grade’ Is Brilliantly Real and A Must-See

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Eighth Grade follows the awkward and lonely Kayla as she tries to make her way through the eighth grade. Kayla wants what anyone wants which is acceptance from her peers. The film is framed with videos that Kayla makes for YouTube. These videos consist of Kayla giving advice on topics such as how to be yourself and how to be confident, and play as Kayla is trying to do those things herself.

The film revolves a lot around the internet, as most of our lives do these days. But the use of technology is not overdone and out of touch as it is in many films and TV shows, instead it serves to show the place technology holds in Kayla’s life and how it contributes to the anxiety and nervousness she experiences.

My favorite thing about this film was how real it was. From the panic Kayla faces as she enters a pool party, to her conversations with her dad at the dinner table I related to all of it. I literally felt as though I was transported back in time to when I was that age.

For me, however, this film isn’t just relatable to eighth grade me, but to current me as well. Writer and director Bo Burnham did a masterful job creating the stress and anxiety many people face daily through the story of an eighth grader, which is a stressful age for anybody to be. Also, all the questions Kayla faces, such as how to be yourself, are struggles that any age can relate to.

One of the reasons Kayla’s feelings came through so well was through the choice to focus the camera mainly on Kayla’s face during anxiety inducing situations. This happens at one point during the pool party where the camera is entirely focused on Kayla’s face although you can hear a fight happening in the background. Another instance of this is when Kayla is in the car with her dad and is telling him to “stop looking like that”. Instead of panning over to the dad’s face to see what Kayla is talking about, the camera focuses on Kayla so that we can see the dozens of emotions going through her head through her facial expressions.

On that topic, I can’t talk about the emotion the audience gets from Kayla without discussing Elsie Fisher’s acting. She pulls off this role phenomenally. In most films about kids this age they are so out of touch and the kids don’t seem genuine, but that is not the case at all in this film. Fisher’s slight eye movements and the way she smiles and nods as her character tries to fit in really sell the realness of the film and how relatable it is.

Not only is this film relatable, but it is also funny. Burnham does an amazing job placing humor so effortlessly throughout the film simply through everyday actions that we all can relate to.

Honestly, I must applaud Burnham for making perhaps the most relatable and real movie about growing up that I have ever seen. Eighth Grade will have you laughing, crying, and saying, “wow I didn’t know other people did that”.


My Rating: 99%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

 

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‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4